With so many options on the shelf at the grocery store, not to mention the enormous number of food selections from online sources, it is difficult to know that the food we eat is nutritious, delicious, and free of unwanted pesticides or preservatives. We see a lot of hype around one certification or another, with new standards being presented to us all the time. How do we know that the food we put on the table supports the health of our families, communities, and the planet?
Organic certification is Mountain Rose Herbs’ go-to standard for ensuring that our herbal offerings are grown without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, GMO seed stock, or irradiation. However, truth be told, there can be a lot of variation in the quality of offerings from brands displaying an organic certification. Because we sell predominately organic certified products, we rely on industry partners like The Cornucopia Institute, as well as rigorous in-house testing for quality and purity, to ensure that the herbs and spices we provide enhance the lives of our customers.
In June of 2023, we embarked on a journey to meet with one of our farm partners in Wazuka, Japan. After a long and exciting travel day, we arrived in the bustling city of Osaka.
Our old friend, Masashi, welcomed us with excitement and an eagerness to share the 350-year-old tea plantation with us. We loaded into his sedan and headed for the misty hills of Wazuka. We first toured the fields where we learned about the growing, shading, inspecting, and harvesting of the fresh and vibrant green leaves. From there we got a behind-the-scenes look at how these organic tea leaves are turned into the vibrant powder we know and love. After fully experiencing the tea planation and all of the heartfelt work that went into making this fine tea powder, we were invited to take part in a traditional matcha tea ceremony.
Having worked with this farmer for over a decade, it was an honor to connect with him in a way that celebrated his culture and to recognize the people that grow and process this special tea for the world to enjoy.
Enjoy a cup of ceremonial matcha: https://mountainroseherbs.com/matcha-tea
Try matcha with a traditional whisk and spoon: https://mountainroseherbs.com/matcha-set
Since its inception, Mountain Rose Herbs has put plants, people, and planet before profit. Led by these values, we’ve been a longtime leader on the list of green companies, helping to positively shape the herbal industry with environmentally focused initiatives. Our core values revolve around sustainability and as such, we’ve implemented innovative programs in energy efficiency, zero waste, and alternative commuting incentives.
WHAT ARE GREEN COMPANIES?
While the definition can vary in its details, green companies are essentially businesses that commit to practices that positively impact their community and the environment. Most states have created an award system to recognize the regional businesses that are the best employers based on their commitment to employees, community, and the planet.
This brings us to Oregon Business’ 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon. To win this award, employees throughout the state participated in an anonymous survey, rating the sustainable initiatives in their workplace and their satisfaction with those policies. In addition, employers were independently scored on their answers to a list of 15 sustainability-oriented questions.
As many of you know, at Mountain Rose Herbs, we invest time and energy into striking a balance between offering as many sustainably grown and harvested organic herbal allies as possible and simultaneously supporting the conservation of at-risk and endangered plants. We are excited that more and more people are recognizing the abundance Mother Nature has to offer and the many benefits that the botanical world provides. Unfortunately, the increasing impact of overharvesting on wild plants has left many of our most important botanicals at serious risk.
With this in mind, Mountain Rose Herbs has been working with United Plant Savers (UpS) to launch a new Seed Stewardship Project! With the help of UpS Executive Director Susan Leopold, we have chosen a variety of at-risk plant seeds that we are giving away to people who are able to plant them and help rebuild our at-risk plant communities. Now, when you place an order on MountainRoseHerbs.com, you will have the option to select a seed package for FREE. Plant them in a window box, in your back yard, or in a natural area where these plants once thrived—together we can ensure their survival one seed at a time.
At Mountain Rose Herbs, botanicals are our business, and the industry has been growing year over year as more people realize the health-supporting benefits of our plant allies. Sounds great, doesn’t it? In many ways, this is a wonderful return to valuing the abundance the natural world has to offer while utilizing the myriad benefits that botanicals provide. Unfortunately, the ongoing and increasing impact of overharvesting wild plants has left many of our native populations at significant risk of decline or even extinction. For this reason, we have invested our time and energy in striking a balance between increasing the availability of the number of botanicals we offer and supporting the conservation of the most at-risk plant varieties.
We first met Ryland Engelhart and Finian Makepeace, co-founders of Kiss the Ground – a nonprofit raising awareness for regeneration through storytelling, education, and advocacy – at Natural Products Expo West in 2022. Since our initial meeting, we knew that we shared foundational values with these inspirational leaders, such as the importance of soil health and sustainable agriculture, sparking our interest to want to get to know them and the organization better.
It was not until I found Ayurveda that I began to understand that the things I disliked about myself were the very things that made me perfect and were a beautiful representation of who I was meant to be—a driven, compassionate warrior goddess. Ayurveda gave me permission to love myself and teaches that we are deeply interconnected and yet so uniquely divine!
We are connected not just in spirit, but also to the universe and all its elements. We are vibrant like the sun, we are spirited like the air, and we are patient like the earth. The energies of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha govern the way we look, our likes and dislikes, our tendencies, our careers, hobbies, and so on.
We recently spent a day with jim mcdonald (@herb.craft) going on plant walks and seeing what familiar botanicals we could find around Eugene, Oregon. When we found wild lettuce, jim identified it right away based on several clues: it’s gray-green color, it’s twisting leaves, and it’s soft prickles beneath the leaves.
Wild lettuce—a botanical cousin to our beloved salad lettuces—has a long history of use as a nervine, a bitter, and to support restful sleep. There are at least 10 wild species of Lactuca spp. in North America that provide beneficial constituents in their leaves, stems, seeds, and the milky white latex called lactucarium that comes from the plant when it is wounded. We invite you to learn more about this herbal ally.
In this new “Tea Talks Roundtable” series, Jiling gathers four local Ventura and Santa Barbara county herbal teachers to discuss sustainable foraging in southern California (aka. So-Cal). Learn more about the Ventura area’s Mediterranean climate, ethical harvesting considerations, and some of the plants that make this area special. We discuss building relationships with plants, spring nibbles, gardening, white sage, horehound, tasty naturalized plants, warrior plants, and conclude with some of our favorite easy to grow medicinals. Enjoy the chat! Learn more about these Ventura area herbal teachers below:
We recently had the pleasure of going on a plant walk with our talented herbalist friend jim mcdonald and learned some fascinating information about horsetail (Equisetum sp.). Sometimes called scouring rush, bottle brush, or shavegrass, this botanical ally has been on the planet for more than 350 million years and is rich in minerals, especially silica, which is why you sometimes see it in formulations for healthy skin, hair, nails, and connective tissue. However, horsetail contains thiaminase, which breaks down the necessary thiamin (vitamin B1) levels in the human body and can lead to thiamin deficiency. But did you know that if you decoct horsetail in boiling water or extract it in alcohol that is above 30%, you can destroy the thiaminase without losing the silica and minerals? That is an herbalism hack worth knowing! Learn more about horsetail with jim mcdonald!
Learn more plant facts with jim: https://herbcraft.podia.com
Follow jim on Instagram and TikTok: @herb.craft
Follow jim on YouTube: @herbcraft